The LOCUS exhibition is a part of the programme aiming to promote
exchange between the Asagaya College of Art and Design in Tokyo and
the Norwich School of Art and Design in Norwich. Since 2004, the
two schools of art and design in Tokyo and in the U.K. have been
engaged in active exchange under the common theme of "Locus".
Locality, culture and life are deeply intertwined. Globalisation
notwithstanding, there will always remain uniqueness in our cultures
and modes of life, since they are closely tied to the geographic
locality. The aim of the LOCUS exhibition is to experience the
cultures and lifestyles linked to specific locales - Tokyo and
Norwich - and to let the experience manifest itself in the form
of art and design.
The 5th LOCUS exhibition will display works of graphic design.
The primary characteristics of graphic design are that it uses
letters and images for representation. Its duplicative nature,
by means of printing, is also an important feature of graphic design.
Since the dawn of civilisation mankind have employed characters
and images as a means of communication, among which the Mesopotamian
cuneiform and the Egyptian hieroglyph are well-known.
Printing in its most primitive form was relief printing, a method
still used now to make rubber stamps and woodblock prints. It was
already in use in China in 2nd century A.D..
Why do characters and images fascinate us? It is because they
have the power to make things that are not here appear before your
eyes. The character (or letters) "god" enables those
who can read the word to actually see the immaterial existence.
The 8th century Irish manuscripts of the Bible must have possessed
the power to allow the people to see Jesus Christ in the letters
XPI woven into the endlessly intricate patterns. Unscrolling the
Japanese "Tales of Genji", illustrations and written
characters resonate with one other to unfold the world of love
and passion between men and women . The fundamental power of characters
and images lies in their ability to materialise the nonexistent.
It is this power that enables communication between people, and
graphic design employs this power to the fullest.
Another aspect of graphic design that should not be forgotten
is that it is deeply intertwined with the advancement in mass printing
technology and the development of the mass media. Graphic design
was first born in cities which had the means for mass production
and a highly developed mass media.
And now, the potential for graphic design has further expanded
with the arrival of unprinted form of mass communication such as
the Web catalogue you are now reading.
This year, Robert Shadbolt from the Norwich School of Art and Design
is invited to Tokyo to engage in creative activities, and Hiromi
Beppu from the Asagaya College of Art and Design will visit Norwich
in return. Robert Shadbolt specialises in illustration and is active
in the various fields of graphic design. Hiromi Beppu, also specialising
in illustration, creates picture books and art books.
In this age of universal and material-free Web design, it is interesting
to know what new potential the two artists will discover in graphic
design through experiencing life in a different culture.
Lastly, it is a great privilege for us to have been conferred accredited
event partner status to "UK-JAPAN2008", hosted by the
British Embassy and the Britich Council in Japan to celebrate the
150th anniversary of diplomatic relations and friendly ties between
Japan and the United Kingdom. We would also like to express our
deep gratitude to the Great Britain Sasagawa foundation for their
continuing support in funding this programme.
Director of Advanced Studies
Asagaya College of Art and Design